THE Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) is launching a call for all candidates to sign up to a pledge that will see social care in Scotland put front and centre ahead of the local elections on 5th May 2022.
The pledge calls for prospective councillors to make a public commitment to improving the provision of social care services in their ward and calls on them to publish key information that will make local authority councils and Health & Social Care Partnerships (HSCP’s) more transparent and accountable to their constituents.
The pledge calls on prospective councillors and public bodies responsible for the provision of social care services to build a more sustainable footing for the delivery of essential care in the community and learn the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic which left many disabled and vulnerable people without vital supports and services.
The Scottish Government launched its Self-directed Support strategy in 2010 and this was followed up by the Social Care (Self-directed Support)(Scotland) Act 2013, making it a legal requirement that everyone in Scotland eligible for social care support be given impartial information and guidance on their options and requiring local authorities and others to ensure there was independent advice available to everyone.
Said SPAEN’s chief executive, Colin Millar (pictured): “At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPAEN was inundated with requests for information, practical support and advocacy from people being left stranded in their own homes and communities as local authority and agency care arrangements crumbled under the strain of staff absences; and delays in getting social care assessments completed.
“Two years on, people are still toiling with less than adequate assessment or provision, leading to lengthy delays in hospital, unbearable and sustained pressure on unpaid carers and family members and peoples’ quality of life being further eroded.
“We call on prospective councillors to grasp this nettle and make meaningful, sustainable and productive changes for their constituents.
“The provision of social care must become a priority for every local authority in Scotland before it’s too late.”
He added: “We want to see local authorities reporting meaningful data at a local level; for councillors to be informed and able to drive meaningful change at a local level and for lessons to be learned and changes implemented at a local level.
“Only then, with independent, frequent and meaningful data, analysis and published commitments can we truly start to tackle the social care crisis in Scotland and do it in a meaningful way that positively affects the lives of people at a local level.”
SPAEN is asking that elected officials drive change in their council to ensure that this is addressed systematically:
* A commitment to reporting, at a local level, on the experience of every social care user. SPAEN is calling for independent research and evaluation of, and commissioned by, every local authority to systematically collect, evaluate and put in place an action plan to address shortfalls in the delivery of self-directed support;
* The findings of systematic research and action plans to be published openly and regularly so that local constituents can see progress being made and hold their councillors to account where it is not; and
* Local authorities to have in place a flexible plan for social care support that will ensure continuation of care and the provision of emergency support to quickly and adequately assess and provide care for those who need it.
SPAEN will be writing to the leaders of every Scottish political party fielding candidates, as well as CoSLA and independent candidates, inviting them to add their name and commitment to the pledge, with those committing to the pledge having their name and electoral ward added to a dedicated page on SPAEN’s website.
Notes for editors:
The Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) was formed in 1999 and provides practical advice, guidance and support to people choosing Option One or a Direct Payment under the SDS Act.
SPAEN currently supports around 500 PA employers and approximately 1,000-1,500 personal assistants in Scotland.
Colin Millar, SPAEN’s CEO, can be contacted for comment or interview on 078 681 85996 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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